Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | October 8, 2014

Starvation, by David Bower

Starvation is Dangerously Widespread in the United States

I can imagine your first thought as you read that headline; what in the world is he talking about, there’s a greater problem in the United States with obesity than there is with starvation. While physically that may be true, what about the spiritual condition of most people in the United States, are they spiritually well nourished and healthy; are they even spiritually alive?

We have all seen pictures of people who were physically starving to death; the visible symptoms are stark and disturbing. Many pictures were taken of emaciated men and women in prison camps in Germany and Japan at the end of World War II where prisoners were starved to death; it is a tragic sight.

What about pictures of spiritual starvation, where would you look to find those? Almost any place you go and anywhere you look you will see multiple signs of spiritual death, starvation or at least serious malnutrition. Most of the problems we hear about today are active symptoms of spiritual death, malnourishment or starvation but are all too often misdiagnosed. The world’s answers to these problems are always physical in nature and simply do not work; only in the Bible do we find answers that work!

Who is it that’s Starving?

I think we can all agree that only a person who is alive can starve. No one would go to a graveyard and express concern about starvation over those dead and buried. Accepting that point, then only those who are spiritually alive could be thought of as spiritually malnourished or starving. Those who are spiritually dead have a bigger problem; they need to become spiritually alive by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. This is referenced in Ephesians 2:1 where it is written:

“2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

By God’s grace we were born again by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and were made spiritually alive; after that it is our responsibility to see that we are spiritually well nourished.

What are the Signs of Spiritual Starvation or Malnutrition?

We are provided some clues in Galatians 5:19-21 “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In Romans 14:23b the definition of sin is broadened, “and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” I’m always awed by the all-encompassing nature of what it says. Everything that is not of faith includes much of what we think and do each day; every fear, doubt, worry, complaint, lust, apprehension, concern is all sin and quenches the power or the Holy Spirit in our lives robbing us of the fruit of the Spirit and the joy of our salvation.

Paul goes on to describe the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-25 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

The fruit of the Spirit reveals a well nourished Spirit led life and unsurprisingly I see more evidence of this in church than anywhere else; sadly these symptoms are not universal even in church. I served as an usher for several years in a local church where I stood at the main entrance to the Worship Center and greeted people as they entered and offered them a bulletin.

Where I stood I could see everyone walking in a main entrance to the church and could observe their facial expressions. I noticed that a large number of those coming in appeared to be greatly burdened by something; there was little or no evidence of the joy of the Lord in their expressions. I set myself a goal to try and put smiles on as many of those faces as I could before they passed me by on their way into the Worship Center; often I was successful.

If you are not living a Spirit led life and manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit most of the time in your life is it possible you are either malnourished or starving spiritually.

Remember this has nothing to do with salvation, which is secured for the believer by the power of God, and everything to do with fellowship with God and quality of life while in our mortal bodies which is dependent on our walking by faith and not by sight!

 Those wonderful verses in 1 John 1:8-10 help us recognize the nature of the sin problem and why we may be walking be sight and not by faith: “8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

While verses 8 and 10 describe the problem, verse 9 provides God’s solution to man’s problem of personal sin; we confess it to God and “he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I’m particularly grateful for the “purify us from all unrighteousness” part. I’m an 81 year old retired Christian grandfather who lives at home yet I confess my sins to God many times each day!

That part about “and everything that does not come from faith is sin” in Romans 14:23b hits me pretty hard. I’m a planner and consequently a worrier, I can start worrying or just start experiencing feelings of concern about almost anything at any time and have to carefully watch myself; I have to acknowledge that my worry and feelings of concern are sin and need to be confessed to God. The challenge today is the world seems to be so filled with worrysome things but letting those things control our outlook on life is walking by sight which is sin.

Next we will consider combating Spiritual Malnourishment and Starvation


Responses

  1. Excellent! Thank you so much for sharing, David!

    Don’t know if you saw this on the news but if you have…..What are your thoughts and what does the Bible say – regarding this young woman that has a brain tumor and has decided to end her life – I believe it said Nov 1, 2014 with I guess a pill that she has been given by a doctor.

    Like

    • Sheila,

      I believe the Bible is clear regarding suicide, our lives belong to the Lord and are His to leave or take so suicide is not an option for believers. I’m not familiar with this particular event and do not know if the young woman is a Christian or not but suicide is not really an option. Our older son died of brain cancer but suicide was never even thought of much less considered as an option.

      Like

  2. Our bodies are fat, our spirit emaciated.

    Like


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